College Celebrates Class of 2016 Commencement

The college celebrated its 2016 commencement with ceremonies held on Thursday, May 12 and Friday, May 13.

On Thursday afternoon May 12, the Graduate School awarded degrees to the college’s 35 Master of Public Health, two Master of Science in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, and four Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences students in a commencement ceremony held in Cassell Coliseum.

The college held its DVM program commencement on Friday, May 13, awarding degrees to 116 new doctors of veterinary medicine. The ceremony was held for the first time in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre in the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech. Earlier that morning, Virginia Tech recognized the graduates in the university-wide commencement ceremony held in Lane Stadium.

MPH graduates at commencement
MPH graduates gathered for a photo at the Virginia Tech Graduate School commencement ceremony.
MPH graduates at commencement
Graduates at the 2016 DVM Commencement Ceremony.

Dean Cyril Clarke began the ceremony by welcoming the graduates and their guests. He congratulated the graduates and reminded them how well-equipped they are to enter the veterinary profession after their time at the college. He elaborated, “You have received a comprehensive training across all major domestic species and scientific disciplines, so you are experts in comparative biology and medicine. Not only are you trained to diagnose and treat diseases in multiple animal species, but you are uniquely qualified to understand and address the risk of disease transmission between animals and humans, so you will serve as a critical public health resource in your communities.”

MPH graduates
Dean Cyril Clarke introduced keynote speaker, Thomas Cecere, assistant professor of Anatomic Pathology.

Dean Emeritus Peter Eyre also spoke at the ceremony of the need for persistence as graduates prepare for the next stage after graduation, quoting Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence… Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

The Class of 2016 selected Thomas Cecere, assistant professor of Anatomic Pathology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology as their commencement speaker, who emphasized the importance of relationships — family, mentorships, and friendships — as the graduates began their new careers. At the end of his speech, Cecere joked about how his students told him that they “didn’t want to hear about how life was going to become more difficult” after graduating, but that the “number one thing” they requested was music, so he complied with a brief fiddle performance of “Soldier’s Joy.” Cecere also recently received the 2016 Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award.

[Left] Thomas Cecere, assistant professor of anatomic pathology, was selected by the Class of 2016 to be their commencement keynote speaker. Watch a video of his fiddle performance at the conclusion of his address.
[Right] Danielle Brown of Woodbine, Maryland graduated with top honors as the Class of 2016 valedictorian and Richard. B. Talbot Award recipient.

Danielle Brown of Woodbine, Maryland received the Richard B. Talbot Award as the Class of 2016 valedictorian. Brown, who has a long history of academic achievement, attributed her success in veterinary school to “hard work and motivation” in a prior interview. She is now continuing on to complete a small animal internship and residency at a referral clinic in Maryland.

David Hodgson, head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Gregory Daniel, head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, presented a recognition of resident certificate to Jessica Stahle, who completed her residency in radiology.

Then, Robert Silcox, president of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, led the graduates in the recitation of the veterinarian’s oath while Margaret “Peggy” Rucker, president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, enthusiastically welcomed them to the veterinary profession.

Graduates taking oath
Graduates recited the Veterinarian’s Oath at the 2016 DVM Commencement Ceremony.

Tina Brehm, DVM Class of 2016 president, discussed highlights of the class’ time at the college in addition to presenting the graduates’ class gift, a donation to the college’s multidiscipline laboratories program.

Marion Ehrich, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and accomplished pianist, received special recognition for providing the musical accompaniment during the ceremony, as she has for the past 31 years.

Prior to the commencement ceremony, a reception was held for graduating DVM students, families, and invited guests in the Commons at the veterinary college.

View photos from this year’s commencement: